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Program to offer clean slate for Utahns with criminal records

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SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (News4Utah) State, county and non-profit organizations are teaming up to give dozens of Utahns a fresh start.

Salt Lake County, the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the Department of Public Safety, Catholic Community Services, Salt Lake City Justice Court and volunteers from the Utah State Bar Tuesday gave dozens of eligible individuals help with clearing past criminal history from their records so that, legally, they can start with a clean slate.

“I was struggling to find a good job,” said Denette Young, who had drug charges dating back to the 1990s. “I was being denied because of my criminal record.”

Expungement is available for many nonviolent offenses, including some felonies under Utah law. 

“When you pay your debt to society we welcome you back as an equal partner,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, who added many people are no aware of the rights they have when it comes to wiping their criminal records. 

The Expungement Day effort was held at St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall near the Road Home Shelter. The partnering agencies saw individuals by appointment and walk-ins. 

 “The road to self-reliance and independence is often blocked by past criminal histories that show up in routine background and credit checks,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.

Expungement is a legal process set forth in Utah law. It defines who is, and who is not eligible to clear their court records. Application for expungement must be submitted to the Utah Department of Public Safety and filed with the court. Legal costs and fees can put the process out of reach for many low-wage workers.

Tuesday, many of those fees were waived for eligible clients. County officials said they hope to hold Expungement Day again. 

There is a waiting period from the time of conviction to expungement eligibility. Click on the link below to find out if you qualify to have your criminal record wiped.  

More information about Expungement Day

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